Capital Region Scrapbook: Linton High’s Class of ’61 set to relive golden moments (with photo gallery)

Dave Weiss and Rick Mont look back fondly at their time at the former Linton High. Next month, they

Dave Weiss had it made.

When he was a senior at Linton High School during the spring of 1961, his afternoon classes were lunch, gym, study hall and driver’s education.

Because Weiss was on the golf team, he and one of his swinging teammates were the first two drivers behind the wheel in their last class of the day. Bill Rapavy was the driver’s ed instructor — also the assistant golf coach — so he dropped the guys off at Schenectady Municipal for practice.

“It used to cost us 5 cents to play, that was for the golf team,” said Weiss, 67, a retired pension attorney for the state Teachers’ Retirement System. “Greens fees were 50 cents. A year’s membership was $35. I know because I had one the summer before.”

That was all 50 years ago, when Weiss and his friend Rick Mont were just finishing their careers at Linton. The guys will remember more stories Sept. 16-18, when the class of 1961 gathers for its golden anniversary reunion. A party will be held at The Water’s Edge Lighthouse on Friday, Sept. 16. A dinner dance will he held at the Lighthouse’s “Terrace Ballroom” on Saturday, Sept. 17. A brunch gathering will be held Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Edison Club in Rexford.

Class members looking for more information can visit the Web site

Recalling simpler time

Mont, 67, who worked in toy and jewelry sales in Schenectady, said kids who were 18 in 1961 were legally allowed to drink. So they hung out at city bars like Diamante’s tavern (the current Geppetto’s on Nott Street) and Mama Bianchi’s on Barrett Street. “We’d go to Kay’s drug store on Upper Union Street and drive-in movies — sometimes with freedom riders in the trunk,” Mont said.

Weiss, who lives in Guilderland, said other diversions included television’s “Father Knows Best” and “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”

“We had our first doses of the music stars of the era,” Weiss said. “Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Pat Boone, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly.”

“And American Bandstand,” Mont said. “We all went home after school to watch that.”

“This was very reflective of the simpler times,” Weiss added. “Everything was on records, and they were 45s.”

Weiss has researched Linton’s past. He said the Schenectady Chamber of Commerce Committee on Education started to think about a new high school in 1946. Twenty-nine acres of woods off The Plaza eventually were chosen for the new building, and bids totaling $4.4 million were approved for the construction of Linton during the spring of 1956.

“When the school opened, it was widely hailed,” Weiss wrote in an article celebrating the reunion. “Such one-story educational structures were yet uncommon, and features like its automotive shop and audio-visual facilities were innovative.”

Linton is now Schenectady High School. On Friday, Sept. 16, students from more than 50 years ago will tour their old classrooms and hallways. Teens from another era, now in their mid-60s, will remember tales from younger days.

“No doubt some will recall the autumn day in 1960 when, with ‘Camelot’ on the doorstep, they had the chance to shake the hand of John F. Kennedy as he campaigned for president in Schenectady,” Weiss said.

Weiss and Mont expect there will also be conversation about grandchildren during the reunion weekend. And dances, basketball games and parties.

“The memories are somewhat hazy, but very comforting,” Rexford resident Mont said. “They were good times. . . . There will be a lot of different versions of the same stories.”

Categories: Life and Arts

Leave a Reply